Cibbets Flat Campground-Laguna CG14.9 on-trail miles (plus whatever I walked to and from and around Mt Laguna and to Laguna Campground from trail)

After the wilting heat of yesterday, I already knew I wanted to get an early start today. Karen, who I met at the campground last night, likes to get up really early and hike in the dark for the first little while, so I decided to go with her. It was hard to get up and dressed because it was so cold! But I loved it! We were hiking by 4:30 a.m. The almost full moon was still up and we got to watch the sun come up. It was nice to have someone to talk to and walk with. The best part is, we got in 10 miles before 10:00! 
Today was our first town stop. It seemed almost too soon, but I did get excited when I saw the sign for the cafe. Breakfast frittata! Eggs sounded so good, but when my plate arrived I felt queasy looking at it. Apparently, this is common. I’m not hungry yet and eating less, even, than I do at home. 
While I was sitting in the cafe eating and catching up on emails and such, I read that Prince died. I almost yelled, I was so shocked. No one there seemed to have any feeling about it at all! So strange! I mean, Prince! It was weird. I guess I’m still looking for my people a little bit. 
After getting some snacks to carry me through the next four days and checking my internets and getting water, and getting leukotape from the outfitter, it was time to get back to trail. I could have just walked through town and picked the trail back up on the other side, which a lot of people did, but I’d like to try to connect my footsteps as much as possible on the actual trail, so I hiked back to where we left off. Dudley from Hawaii hiked back with me. Not ten minutes after we got back on trail, we turned the corner to see, like a mirage, a glimpse of the desert we’ll be hiking around in the days to come. I was completely taken aback. We just stood there for a moment and looked at it. I’m always struck by how otherworldly desert landscapes are. I’ve loved the desert since I first set eyes on it when I was 13.  
It was only about six more miles to the Laguna Campground, but boy was it a slog. A beautiful slog, but a slog nonetheless. I was so tired when I got to the site that I ate pop tarts for dinner. I gave myself a little wipe down in the bathroom, conferred with Karen about plans for the next couple of days and went straight to bed around 9:00.  
Who I met:
Sean, a mechanical engineer from Philly. Dudley, a surfer and retired building contractor from Hawaii. Also, I saw Bruce again today, but no good opportunity arose to use my clever-not-clever reference. 

What I learned:
– Getting up early and hiking before daylight is the way to go. 

– It’s best to have a solid plan when going into a town, lest you get sucked in. 

– Beware trail town outfitters, lest you spend all your money on lighter gear. Unless your pack is heavy and you really need a shakedown, then they are super helpful and knowledgeable. 

– Going ultralight is a slippery slope. 

– Keeping pack weight low takes constant vigilance. 

– It might be smart to take pics of exit points so I can remember where I came from when I get back on trail. 

– If I get into camp too late, I’m not cooking. 

Today’s hike was powered by new friends.